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GM Collectibles Go on the Block

Like a family down on its luck, General Motors (GM) is scouring its cupboards for treasures to sell. On Jan. 13 it plans to auction off about 125 of 250 antique and show cars it will offer in 2009. Car auctioneer Barrett-Jackson will hold the first sale in Scottsdale, Ariz. The second round, in April, is slated for Palm Beach, Fla. "We're trying to save as much money as we can for the corporation," says GM spokesman Greg Wallace. GM has until Mar. 31 to prove "financial viability," a condition for keeping government loans it began receiving in December and for getting more funds. Wallace says he can't recall the last time so many GM collectibles have been sold at once. The cars, drawn from the 1,000 vehicles GM keeps at its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Heritage Center, cost roughly $2,000 each to store, maintain, and transport each year. Some are famous duds. Others are classics: A 1969 Pontiac GTO "should bring at least $200,000," says Dave Brownell, owner of Vintage Auto Enterprises in Manchester Center, Vt.

Kiley is a senior correspondent in BusinessWeek's Detroit bureau.

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